Is Virat Kohli the best batsman in the world? Is Virat Kohli going through a purple patch? Is Virat Kohli unstoppable when it comes to chases in ODI cricket? Is Virat the modern one-day great? The answer to all the above questions is in affirmative.
Don of ODIs?
Virat Kohli is the Don Bradman of one-day cricket and it would not be an exaggeration. The rate at which Virat Kohli is going by scoring 28 hundreds in limited overs cricket (189 matches, whereas Sanath Jayasuriya took 445 matches to score same number of hundreds) and 16 hundreds in Test cricket (57 matches) proves the point. Kohli recently overtook Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 17 centuries (232 innings) in chases in ODI cricket. The Indian captain by scoring 111 not out in the deciding one-dayer at Jamaica scored his 18th hundred in the second innings (102 innings) of ODI cricket. Only Australian great Ricky Ponting (30) and Sachin Tendulkar (49) are ahead of him in terms of centuries in coloured clothing. The Indian captain’s brain works like a computer in chases and has set a new template in ODI cricket.
The game of Virat Kohli is based on sound technique, strong will power and sheer work ethic. Kohli at the age of 28 years has rewritten the rules of the game and currently has 44 international hundreds. The contemporaries of Kohli, likes of Joe Root, Steve Smith, Kane Williamson are all fine players in their own right, but none of them can match Kohli across formats. Kohli, who struggled with the short ball in the current series bounced back emphatically and silenced critics in style, who were questioning his form and his alleged role in the Kumble saga. Kohli likes challenges and has scored runs in all conditions across all formats over a long period of time.
Better under pressure
Indian cricket always has been powerful and dominant, when it comes to batting from Sunil Gavaskar to Sachin Tendulkar and now the baton has been passed to Virat Kohli. The interesting thing about Kohli is that more the pressure better his game gets. He has already scored hundreds in World tournaments and nothing unnerves him. The added responsibility of captaincy has done wonders and last year he scored four double hundreds in four consecutive Test series, starting from West Indies (200, Antigua), New Zealand (211, Indore), England (235, Mumbai) and Bangladesh (204, Hyderabad). The long season of 17 Test matches took Kohli’s game to next level and just at the fag end of the season; he suffered a dip in form against Australia (injuring his shoulder during the series).
Kohli will invariably suffer a loss in form and his record in England and Wales in 2014 Test series was abysmal (134 runs in five Tests). Kohli is not perfect or freak, but he has scored Test hundreds in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, West Indies and the only blemish is his record in the United Kingdom, which he will be desperate to rectify, when India tours England in the summer of 2018. Players are judged on their record in the longest format and Kohli, who had a tough start in Test cricket, has gone from strength to strength and his hunger and passion is second to none.
Best yet to come?
The real test for Kohli and the young Indian team will come when they will be playing abroad, but knowing Virat, who after performing last rites of his father played a Ranji match, which proves his commitment for the game. Kohli’s maiden international hundred came against Sri Lanka in the year 2009 and in just over eight years he is closing in on 50 international tons.
Sachin Tendulkar scored 100 hundreds over 24 years and Kohli might break this improbable record in the next decade or so. Kohli might come across as cocky, too ambitious, having attitude, but when he is on the cricket field he delivers and walks the talk. The Indian skipper is in a league of his own and is setting new benchmarks every day and is already being talked in the same league of Tendulkar, Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting. Virat leads from the front and as they say sky is the limit for this ultra-aggressive Delhi dynamo.